Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Click Takes You Back to Maps of Missouri Cities in 1880s

With a quick computer search by city or street name, people can now study historical maps of every Missouri city between the years of 1883 to 1922 online at the University of Missouri’s Digital Library Web site.

Originally compiled and published by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Company to assess the risk of insuring property, the 6,500 maps in the digitized Sanborn collection are drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch. The maps include detailed information such as location of water mains, fire alarms and fire hydrants and are color-coded to identify the construction material of each building.

The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) through the Missouri State Library of the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office gave the University of Missouri-Columbia Libraries a $16,208 grant to digitize and index the maps. The process took 18 months to complete.

People use the historical maps to research genealogy and historic buildings, to prove property rights and to study the history of a Missouri town.

Founded in 2001, the University’s Digital Library has 20 text collections and 23 image collections including World War I sheet music, MU sports posters, and Victorian studio portrait photographs. Other items recently digitalized include the Missouri Alumnus, the MU alumni monthly magazine; The Savitar, the MU yearbook; and The Tiger Claw, the yearbooks of University High School at MU.

To view the maps, please visit:


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